Fortuna instructor accused of groping again in custody after bail enhance – Occasions-Commonplace
Gary Landergen, a Fortuna teacher who is accused of groping three minors he coached, was taken back into custody on May 25 after his bail was increased.
Landergen faces four felony accusations of lewd acts with children and four misdemeanor counts: two regarding unlawfully touching an intimate part of another person and two regarding child molestation. All three minors in the case were 15 years old.
Landergen was initially booked on a $35,000 bail, which he posted, but since the District Attorney’s Office filed charges, the bail schedule increased due to the four felonies he is accused of at $25,000 per felony. Landergen is responsible for the $65,000 bail increase.
Landergen, a math teacher and coach at Fortuna Union High School, was placed on administrative leave before he was arrested in April.
Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Schaffer urged Judge Kelly Neel to increase the bail not only to make it compliant with bail scheduling, but also on behalf of the alleged victims in the case.
“The defendant has abused his position of trust to abuse multiple minors he coached during this time frame,” Schaffer said, noting that the minors in question continue to suffer the adverse effects of Landergen’s alleged behavior.
Landergen was not arraigned, as his permanent council has yet to be determined, but he was specially represented by defense attorney Zach Curtis on Wednesday, who argued that the bail should not increase due to Landergen’s appearance in court and lawful behavior outside of custody.
“He has been particularly cautious to stay away from young people, he is aware of the seriousness of what he is accused of,” Curtis said.
While Neel increased the bail, she modified the restraining order against Landergen to 10 yards away from the school, as Landergen lives roughly 100 yards away from Fortuna Union High School.
Landergen’s own recognition bail hearing and arrangement are scheduled for Friday at 2 pm
Jackson Guilfoil can be reached at 707-441-0506.